Digital security training for antimining activists, Mexico

From Gender and Tech Resources

Title Digital Security training for antimining activists
Category Digital Security
Start 2015/05/05
End 2015/05/05
Hours 10
Scale Mexico
Geolocalization 19° 29' 18", -97° 39' 1"
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Organisation Acción directa autogestiva
Target audience antimining activists
Number of participants 12
Context and motivations The workshop was conducted at the request of an organization that is opposing mining projects in the region. Some of its participants are representatives of their communities and are subjected to constant high risk. In the words of the organization, they needed the workshop in order to communicate with human rights defenders organizations in a safer way.
Topics DST, activists, Mexico, Spanish
Links Articles, videos, photos on-line, ...
Media [[File:]]
Agenda Workshop for a grassroot organization in the North Sierra of Puebla (Mexico)

The workshop was held in a village about an hour from the capital Puebla, it took place in a center to teach and learn crafts with mud that also counts with a computer room. The computers were installed with Windows and the Internet connection was only working if there was no more than two computers connected at the same time (sounds familiar? ;-). Most of the attendees brought their personal computers with Windows but there was also two persons using Ubuntu. About 12 people attended, mostly men aged between 19 years - 60 years. The level of education and occupation was variable.

The workshop gave an introduction to technopolitical aspects of surveillance, digital security and digital tools. The possibility of using TAILS was discussed and I brought some USB installed with me but we did not have enough time to work on that topic. The workshop consisted in mail encryption using Thunderbird and Enigmail. It took place on Saturday, which is the most appropriate day for the community and lasted from 10AM to 6 PM with an hour break for lunch.

Methodologies The introductory part adopted an approach through concrete examples dealing with information management and this perspective pleased very much the participants. Individuals were already convinced that they needed encryption but the introductory part helped them to understand they also needed to visualise integral strategies. Although the organization was already working with a secure server, they had not yet configured their email accounts so we had to first proceed with this configuration. Accordingly, downloading the programs and installing it made the process quite slow. Nonetheless most of the attendees could leave the workshop with an encrypted mail but they do not use it still on a daily basis.
Feelings The time for the workshop was not enough, at the same time it is difficult for the participants to dispose of more time between their work and activism and getting more in-depth in technical issues requires time. There is also a strong gender gap in what relates to possibilities to access to technology. There are also technical difficulties because the access to the Internet and computers is highly variable and is not granted everywhere and all the time. My feeling was that it would have been more useful to only set up one mail account during the workshop as an example of the steps they should follow once they would go back home, and to give them also printed step by step tutorials. Obviously, those changes requires time, engage in a long term process held by more visits to to these communities. One of the sisters who took the workshop could read English well so I left one Security in a box and she wrote to me telling me that she had already read it and it served her well. We agreed to have a second workshop in the near future.
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